Monday 31 August 2015

Failing the Honest: This IAS Officer Who Took on the Govt., Now Considering Leaving the Country

Failing the Honest: This IAS Officer Who Took on the Govt., Now Considering Leaving the Country

By Mugdha Kapoor, M.INDIATIMES.COM, Posted on August 27, 2015

We have often seen and heard of instances of honest officers in the country having to pay a heavy price for going against the executive. Officers like Narendra Kumar, D K Ravi, Shanmugam Manjunath, Pandillappalli Srinivas, Yashwanth Sonawane paid the price with their lives, and a few others who did not abide by the executive's word, were either transferred or suspended (Ashok Khemka, Durga Nagpal).

Being upright, honest and having the guts to take decisions brings with it, the constant fear of death threats, being murdered or having to face obstacles that will come in the way of doing one's work. But with honesty also comes a great sense of confidence and fearlessness which motivates one to carry on.

There are very few, rare and special breed of officers, who feel obligated towards the country and want to do something for it. But they are stopped at every step by our very own representatives (read Ministers). We as a nation have on several counts failed these rare breed of honest officers who are willing to serve the nation at any cost.

Here's another story of an honest officer who has been 'appropriately' reward for having a backbone:


"On passing out from IIT Chennai Mr. Narayanaswamy was offered scholarship by the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA. He who came from a middle class family believed that he had a moral obligation to give something in return for the lakhs of rupees the government spent on him as an IIT student. He had the intelligence and conviction to realize that this money came also from the poorest of the poor - who pay up the excise duty on textiles when they buy cloth, who pay up customs, excise and sales tax on diesel when they travel in a bus, and in numerous other ways indirectly pay the government. So he decided to join IAS hoping he could do something for the people of this country. How many young men have the will power to resist such an offer from USA? Narayanaswamy did never look at IAS as a black money spinner as his later life bears testimony to this fact.

After a decade of meritorious service in IAS, today, Narayanaswamy is being forced out of the IAS profession. Do you know why?

Even under immense political pressure, he did what was right. A real estate agent wanted to fill up a paddy field which is banned under law. An application came up before Narayanaswamy who was the sub collector, for an exemption from this rule for this plot of land. Upon visiting the site he found that the complaint from 60 poor families that they will face water logging due to the waste water from a nearby Government Medical College if this paddy field was filled up was correct. Narayanswamy came under intense political pressure but he did what was right - refused permission for filling up the paddy field. That was his first confrontation with politicians.

His honesty costed him his marriage
Soon after his marriage his father-in-law closed down a public road to build compound wall for his plot of land. People approached Narayanaswamy with complaint. When talking with his own father-in-law did not help, he removed the obstructing wall with police help. The result, his marriage broke up.

As district Collector he raided the house of a liquor baron who had defaulted Rupees 11 crores payment to government and carried out revenue recovery. A Minister directly telephoned him and ordered to return the forfeited articles to the house of the liquor baron. Narayanswamy politely replied that it is difficult. The minister replied that Narayanaswamy will suffer. Posted in the most powerless position as a reward.

In his district it was a practice to collect crores of rupees for earthen bunds meant for poor farmers, but which were never constructed. A bill for Rs 8 crores came up before Narayanaswamy. He inspected the bund. He found it very weak and said that he will pass the bill after the rainy season to ensure that the bund served the purpose. As expected the earthen bund was too weak to stand the rain and it disappeared in the rain. But he created a lot of enemies for saving 8 crores public money. The net result of all such unholy activities was that he was asked to go on leave by the government.

Later such an illustrious officer was posted as "State Co-Ordinator, Quality Improvement Programme for Schools". This is what the politician will do to a honest officer with backbone - post him in the most powerless position to teach him a lesson. Since he found that nothing can be achieved for the people if he continued with the State Service he opted for central service. But that too was denied on some technical ground.

The bigger question
1.     What will you do when you have a brilliant computer career anywhere in the world you choose, with the backing of several advanced technical papers, published in international journals to your credit?
2.     When you are powerless to do anything for the people, why should you waste your life as the Co-Ordinator for a Schools Programme?

Nation's loss
Mr. Narayanaswamy is on the verge of leaving IAS to go to Paris to take up a well paid United Nations assignment. The politicians can laugh thinking another obstacle has been removed. But it is the helpless people of this country who will lose - not Narayanaswamy. But you have the power to support capable and honest bureaucrats like Narayaswamy, G.R.Khairnar and Alphons Kannamthanam who have suffered a lot under self-seeking politicians who rule us. You have even the power to replace such politicians with these kinds of people dedicated to the country.

The question is will you do the little you can do NOW? At least a vote or word in support of such personalities”?

It is the prime responsibility of the GOI to restore confidence and give them full support instead of FAILING THEM. Failing the honest is ultimately failing the nation.

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